The end of the year is approaching rapidly and at the risk of sounding like my grandmother, time flies.
Let me ask you a question. How did everything go with your career this year? I hope there is a resounding “fantastic” resonating from everyone. But, is there anyone out there who is less than thrilled about your performance? No matter what your circumstances, you can always bounce back from a bad work year.
How To Get Your Career Back on Track
Step 1: Be Clear About Where It Went Wrong
Can you precisely pinpoint where and why your career took a dip? You cannot make a course correction without this knowledge. Be brutally honest with yourself – no excuses. Were outside factors at play or did you simply get too comfortable and phone it in? There are times in our career when we are more eager for success than at other times. Your goal is to get to a place where you create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. A crucial point here is that you should be able to state the reason why your career went off track without any ambiguity. If you received a bad review and the feedback was vague, ask your manager for more information. There is nothing wrong with asking your boss to provide you with the specific examples. If your manager has a hard time articulating it, get a commitment from them so that they will let you know the next time they notice you slipping backwards. That way, you are on top of your behavior and your manager is a partner in your improvement as well.
Step 2: Develop Your Own Personal Performance Plan
Be proactive about your improvement. When you develop your personal plan outside of anything you develop with your manager, you can focus on developing a plan that is based upon deep reflection, self-awareness, and your core values. The purpose of your personal improvement plan to help you achieve the vision you have set for yourself. Your ambitions should be at the forefront for any area of personal self-improvement. Create an actionable plan and hold yourself accountable for results. Review your plan in the morning and know what needs to be done before you start the day. Then, review it at the end of the day to monitor your progress. Don’t beat yourself up if you have days where you did not make forward progress. Success is a cumulative process and you will see results over time.
Step 3: Be Assertive and Have Regular Check-ins with Your Boss
Ask for ongoing feedback. Knowing how your manager feels about the work you are doing will help you get ahead of issues that, if left unchecked, will hold your career back. Work with your boss to schedule regular check-ins for the next few months until your performance improves. Not only will this demonstrate to your boss that you are eager to improve but you will gain vital insight that will help you continue with your course correction.
Step 4: Be Your Own Champion
P.T. Barnum said, “Without promotion something terrible happens – nothing.” Being your own champion is not comfortable for many people, however, do not downplay work successes. Modesty is a nice quality. But it doesn’t always work in your favor with your career. Since you will have regular dialogues with your manager, this can easily assist you in highlighting your personal wins. You will also want to keep a written record so that you can rattle them off in your official yearly review. When you keep tabs, you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish each year.
Step 5: Undo Your Negative Perception by Doing What You Say
If people have a certain perception of you, it may take a while to undo the negative perception and replace it with something positive. It may take a while for people to notice your new actions. Be diligent about demonstrating your new behaviors. Follow through and do what you say you will do. Let them know they can count on you. Show up, be present, and follow through so that someone does not have to ask you twice for deliverables. If they expect something from you, give it to them on time.
Wrapping It Up
As you make your personal improvement a priority, don’t be surprised if you come to the realization that you may not be in the right position. Sometimes it takes an event like a bad year or a negative performance review to help you realize that you are not in a company in which you can thrive. Whether you stay or leave, understand that many successful people have had low points in their career.You may feel bad right now, but all careers can be turned around. Reflect on where you are, who you are, what you need to do, and use this opportunity as a springboard for your future success.